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Developed by Associate Professor Eileen Pittaway and Dr Linda Bartolomei, Graphics by Damayanthi Muthukumarage, Website by Anja Wendt

Session 4. Age Gender and Diversity

A Definition * B Background * C Tools & Exercises * D Stakeholder Exercises


These tools are designed to identify the barriers to meaningful participation of diverse groups living in each refugee site, and work with them to identify their specific needs and potential solutions.

Suggested Timing for Sessions

Timings are suggested in each of the tools.  They each can be completed in a half-day session, but to achieve maximum benefit they will take a full day.

A. Age, Gender and Diversity – A Useful Definition

The Age, Gender and Diversity or ‘AGD approach’ is a UNHCR Policy that recognises refugees, forcibly displaced and stateless people, are very diverse. They include people of all ages, Indigenous peoples, people of different income education and language levels. It states that they must all be treated equally.


B. Background reading on Age Gender and Diversity

What is an AGD approach?

An AGD approach requires inclusive policies and activities, which consider how an individual’s age and gender interact with their other characteristics and attributes (including but not limited to disability, LGBTIQ+ identities, religion, ethnicity, political views, income level, language, and education). This approach also examines how one’s age, gender, and diversity may together compound, and often heighten, an individual’s protection risks and experiences of discrimination. To apply an AGD approach requires systematic engagement with a diverse range of people of concern. The meaningful participation of refugees of different AGD groups is essential to understanding and addressing the specific barriers that individuals may face in realising their rights and accessing services. The AGD approach ensures that refugees are not approached as a homogeneous group when designing policies, programmes, and activities. Refugees of various ages may have different gender identities, disabilities, belong to a minority group, or all of the above. Responses must be designed with an understanding of individuals’ experiences, identities, and characteristics that impact – and often hinder – their access to protective environments and meaningful participation.

Please read the UNHCR Age Gender and Diversity Policy for full details: https://www.unhcr.org/au/media/policy-age-gender-and-diversity-accountability-2018

C. Tools to understand AGD and ensure that it is included in our implementation of participatory approaches, and response to SGBV

We recommend two training packages and videos that we developed with UNHCR as part of this project.  They explore ways in which to take Age Gender and Diversity into consideration in all service provision, including addressing meaningful participation and SGBV. 

Ci. The first is entitled The Intersectionality and Age, Gender and Diversity Approach. https://www.unhcr.org/au/what-we-do/how-we-work/safeguarding-individuals/intersectionality-and-age-gender-diversity-approach

This tool introduces how the concept of intersectionality can be applied to taking an AGD approach in our work. 

Cii. The second is The UNSW Age Gender Diversity Matrix Tool


This website contains a tool for analysing and identifying the different age, gender and diversity issues which should inform humanitarian and development responses to issues of concern.

6 - AGD

A Matrix exploring barriers to participation for refugee women and girls.

A Matrix for exploring barriers to participation for refugee men and boys.

There are matrices for people with a disability, the LGBTQI+ communities, and members of ethnic minorities on the matrix website.  You could create your own headings for other groups, covering the issues you are working on.

Ciii. The third is an exercise called Storyboarding, which is part of the Reciprocal Research Package

This exercise moves from problem identification to problem solving, and is an excellent way to engage members of refugee communities in identifying appropriate local solutions. We will demonstrate how to use it in Session 5, SGBV, but it can be used to examine the importance of taking an AGD approach across a whole range of issues.

Storyboarding questions could cover:

  1. Depict a problem of concern experienced by people in your community.  (An example might be the lack of education by women and girls)
  2. How does it affect the people concerned, what happens to them, how does this affect their families, their communities?
  3. What happens to these women and girls now? (What help is available to them and is it effective?)
  4. If you were in charge of services for this group of people, what would you provide for them their families and the community in order to address this issue?
  5. Who do you think could provide these services? Who would you want to do this? What help would RLWO’s need to address it?
  6. If all these services were available what would be the best outcome for these participants?

D. Exercises to do with community groups and other stakeholders

The same exercises are equally important to use with all stakeholders, and the most value is gained when the results from each group involved are brought together to inform program design, implementation and evaluations.